Nuclear Policy News – June 21, 2019

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Top News

Trump Reportedly Orders Strike on Iran, Then Calls Off Attack Plan

Russian diplomat emphasizes need to maintain New START
TASS Russian News Agency

Cyber Operations and Nuclear Weapons
Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Army tests prototypes, explores technologies for air, missile defense
Army News Service6/19/2019
The Army completed on Monday an almost three-month-long capabilities demonstration of prototype radars aimed at replacing the one currently used by Patriot missile units.

PARIS AIR SHOW NEWS: Work Underway to Repurpose Sea-Based Missile Defense System
National Defense Magazine6/19/2019
The SM-6 was originally designed to defend ships from air-and-missile attacks. A few years ago the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office sponsored an initiative that gave it an offensive anti-ship strike capability. Now, Raytheon is taking steps to enable it to be deployed as a land-based system.

Middle East

Trump Reportedly Orders Strike on Iran, Then Calls Off Attack Plan
Multiple news outlets are reporting that President Trump approved airstrikes on Iran Thursday after Iran shot down a U.S. drone — but that the White House called off the strike operation after it began. NPR has not been able to independently confirm those reports.

Putin warns war between US and Iran would be ‘catastrophe’
The Hill6/20/2019
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned that war between the U.S. and Iran would be a “catastrophe” as tensions between the two countries heighten following the downing of a U.S. military drone.

Israel unveils portable Iron Dome at Paris air show
The Times of Israel6/20/2019
Israeli aerospace company Rafael has unveiled a portable Iron Dome missile defense battery, promising deployed troops the same protection the original system provided for civilian populations.


Russian diplomat emphasizes need to maintain New START
TASS Russian News Agency6/19/2019
There is a need to maintain New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) in order to ensure global peace and security, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday, commenting on US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s statement that the Treaty was unlikely to be extended.

Meet Russia’s Kiev-Class Aircraft Carrier (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)
The National InterestKyle Mizokami
The four Kiev-class carriers were part of a major shipbuilding effort designed to fulfill both sets of tasks.


Blessed Be Thy Nuclear Weapons: The Rise of Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy
War on the RocksMichael Kofman
Adamsky’s groundbreaking book lays out the largely unstudied history of how a nuclear priesthood emerged in Russia, permeated the units and commands in charge of Russia’s nuclear forces, and became an integral part of the nuclear weapons industry.

Will nuclear proliferation challenges limit a significant expansion of global nuclear power?
Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsVladimir Kobezskii, Elliot Serbin
The expansion of nuclear power could pose serious proliferation risks, but we believe that these risks can be managed.

Iran Crisis: Have We Learned Nothing From The Iraq War?
The InterceptDeconstructed
Calls for military action against Iran grew louder this week in response to the Trump administration’s claims that the Islamic Republic was responsible for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Many analysts and politicians, both in the U.S. and abroad, expressed skepticism of those claims. But the U.S. media appears to be falling into a familiar pattern, providing a sympathetic platform for the administration without fundamentally questioning its premises. What can we learn from the last push for a war in the Middle East 17 years ago? Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell during the run-up to the Iraq War, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the lessons of recent history.

Special Interest

Cyber Operations and Nuclear Weapons
Nautilus Institute for Security and SustainabilityJon R. Lindsay
In this essay, Jon Lindsay argues that “As NC3 increasingly uses digital technologies to enhance efficiency and reliability, the cybersecurity of NC3 becomes a pressing concern. Adversaries have incentives to penetrate NC3 for intelligence in peacetime and for counterforce in wartime. Given the broad diffusion of cyber capabilities, furthermore, most nuclear weapon states also have some ability to do so, although the operational difficulties of gaining remote access to and covert control over NC3 cannot be overstated. Offensive cyber operations targeting NC3 introduce a number of underappreciated risks of organizational breakdown, decision making confusion, and rational miscalculation in a nuclear crisis.”

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